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The Complete Paratime The Complete Paratime by H. Beam Piper
reviewed by Steven H Silver
This is a collection of stories that have influenced much of the alternative history published since they appeared. In order to understand the genesis of works by Harry Turtledove, S.M. Stirling and others, it is essential to have read this book. The fact that these stories are well written and entertaining only makes it easier to read them and be thankful that Ace has elected to keep them in print.

The Complete Fuzzy The Complete Fuzzy by H. Beam Piper
reviewed by Jean-Louis Trudel
Reprinted in one volume, the three original Piper novels is an endearing flashback to a different brand of SF. By modern standards, the plot is extremely fast-moving with no lack of strongly drawn characters and plenty of action, in what would be hardly enough room for one of the modern behemoths swollen by the advent of word processors.

Shattered Sphere Shattered Sphere by Diane Piron-Gelman et al.
reviewed by Don Bassingthwaite
BattleTech is a game that already has an overwhelming amount of published material. But this is the one supplement that can give you a real feel for the current state of affairs in the game setting.

Amadis of Gaul Amadis of Gaul translated by Edwin Place & Herbert Behm
reviewed by Georges T. Dodds
Some might think The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, Silmarillion and the many subsequent volumes culled from the Tolkien archives, not to mention the works of his imitators, as a literary first for fantasy, a work of pure imagination emerging as a sort of societal and literary icon. Similarly, one might think Conan as the first literary super-warrior to become an industry onto his own, with vast numbers of sequels, adaptations, and ripoffs. Of course, in both cases, one would be roughly 500 years out of date, 600 years if one hearkens back to the origins of Amadis of Gaul.

The Anime Companion The Anime Companion by Gilles Poitras
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
Watch an anime film for a few minutes. Behind all the action, there is a wealth of detail. Poitras has broken it all down for us, in encyclopedia format. Everything you may have wondered about or never even noticed is divided into 14 categories, each with a concise definition of the term.

Gateway Gateway by Frederik Pohl
reviewed by Trent Walters
It has long been considered a classic of the genre. In 1978, it won the Campbell, the Hugo, the Locus and the Nebula awards. Did it deserve such laurels? In a word, yes. The mysterious tunneled worlds and technology of the Heechee still feels fresh and full of wonder. The novel weaves the past and present of Robinette Broadhead, from his contemporary psychiatric sessions with a computer he has dubbed Sigfrid von Shrink to his reminisces of less fortunate days.

Platinum Pohl Platinum Pohl by Frederik Pohl
reviewed by Steven H Silver
His career as a science fiction writer dates back to 1937 with the pseudonymous publication of the poem "Elegy to a Dead Planet: Luna." In addition, he has been an editor, an agent, and a publisher. He has won Hugos, Nebulas, the Skylark, John W. Campbell Memorials, a Grandmaster Award, and more. For all he has done, he is probably best know for his fiction, and this is the first retrospective look at his career since The Best of Frederik Pohl and The Early Pohl were published in 1976.

O Pioneer! O Pioneer! by Frederik Pohl
reviewed by Stephen M. Davis
The novel is entertaining, and breezy enough to be read in a couple of sittings. The dialogue is generally quite good, and the universal translator has a wonderful habit of making all alien speech come out worded like the dialogue in a bad Kung Fu movie.

The Siege of Eternity The Siege of Eternity by Frederik Pohl
reviewed by Steven H Silver
A sequel to The Other End of Time, this novel profiles a future extremely bleak; violence and fear pervade American culture. Into this comes a message from an alien race.

The SFWA Grandmasters, Volume 1 The SFWA Grandmasters, Volume 1 edited by Frederik Pohl
reviewed by Ken Newquist
In a genre that's committed to thinking about tomorrow, sometimes it's easy to forget about yesterday. This new series remembers the good old days. Reading the stories in this book is like visiting childhood friends whom you've never quite forgotten.

The Last Theorem The Last Theorem The Last Theorem by Arthur C. Clarke and Frederik Pohl
reviewed by Paul Kincaid
Arthur C. Clarke, one of the most important figures in mid-century science fiction, was not exactly an exponent of experimental prose. His view, reflected in a string of classic novels from the 50s to the 70s, seems to have been one where prose should be, as near as possible, an invisible window through which one watches the action. Frederik Pohl, on the other hand, has always been a little more ready to take risks with the form and structure of his writing.

The Last Theorem The Last Theorem The Last Theorem by Arthur C. Clarke and Frederik Pohl
reviewed by Steven H Silver
The heart of the novel tells the story of Ranjit Subramanian, a Sri Lankan man who is fascinated by mathematical tricks and finds his muse in Fermat's Last Theorem, a riddle posited by Pierre de Fermat in 1637 and still unsolved. Aside from working on a solution to Fermat's riddle, Subramanian tends to drift through life, mostly supported by a few close friends. Even his resolution of Fermat's problem comes about because of events beyond his control.

H.G. Wells H.G. Wells edited by Tom Pomplun
reviewed by Susan Dunman
This is a newly revised, second edition of selected works by H.G. Wells. There are all-new comics adaptations of The Time Machine, The Invisible Man, and The Inexperienced Ghost, as well as other stories which did not appear in the first edition. For those familiar with the author, reading these adaptations is like meeting an old friend over coffee.

Robert Louis Stevenson Robert Louis Stevenson edited by Tom Pomplun
reviewed by Susan Dunman
When someone mentions a "classic" author, what's your first reaction? Do you sparkle with pleasant memories? Or, do you duck out of the conversation entirely, remembering painful English classes and equally painful trips to the library? If your "literature appreciation" meter tends to waver toward the negative side of the scale, then you might want to consider giving Graphic Classics a try.

Starswarm Starswarm by Jerry Pournelle
reviewed by Steven MacDonald
Pournelle's first solo outing in years is an old-style adventure novel. Like most of his work, this is hard SF, and yet the strongest element is unquestionably the characterization. It's a dynamic coming-of-age tale, set in the future. And it offers ample explanation for Pournelle's longevity as an SF writer.

Tim Powers

Terry Pratchett

Midnight in New Promise Midnight in New Promise by Lon Prater
reviewed by Kit O'Connell
This chapbook has a certain pleasing circularity to its plot -- it begins and ends with an act of violence. Our hero, Grieven Derleth is a man who makes his living on "dirt" -- that is, collecting secrets selling them to the highest bidder. When the story opens, Grieven has been caught spying by the Governor's ogre, beaten soundly, and left in an alley.

Grim Tides Grim Tides by T.A. Pratt
reviewed by Nathan Brazil
Anti-hero Marla Mason was chief sorcerer for the city of Felport, until a disastrous encounter with a version of herself from an alternate dimension resulted in her being stripped of her office, and most of the powers that came with it. As Grim Tides begins, Marla is in exile on the Hawaiian island of Maui, living courtesy of her friend and long time associate Rondeau. Having no express purpose in life, her vague plan is to offer her services as an occult detective, regardless of the fact that she's far more suited to knocking down doors than she is to seeking out subtle clues.

City of the Fallen Sky City of the Fallen Sky by Tim Pratt
reviewed by Sandra Scholes
One night Alaeron, an alchemical researcher, comes upon a young woman being held at knife point by two suspicious looking men who believe she owes their master a large sum of money. Alaeron isn't one for getting involved in other people's affairs, but when women are involved, he makes an exception. Using a powerful time altering egg device, Alaeron stops the villains in their tracks, and gets the woman to safety.

Briarpatch Briarpatch by Tim Pratt
reviewed by Richard A. Lupoff
Several years ago when the reviewer was doing a lot more book reviewing, he devised something called the Lupoff First Paragraph Test. The LFPT is very simple. If you don't know whether a given book is going to be worth reading, just sample the first paragraph. If that is good -- most notably, if it makes you want to keep on reading -- there's a chance that the whole book will be good. That's no guarantee. It could fall apart at any time. But it might -- it just might -- hold up. On the other hand, if the book starts badly, there is almost no chance that it will ever get better.

Spell Games Spell Games by T.A. Pratt
reviewed by Nathan Brazil
Spell Games, the fourth novel in the ongoing saga of Marla Mason, like all its precursors is a self-contained adventure. Having said that, it definitely helps to know what has gone before. Marla, for the uninitiated, is the chief sorcerer of Felport, who operates like a benevolent crime boss among the magical elite, cracking heads together when necessary and protecting the city from all eldritch dangers. It's a job for life, with plenty of perks and an equal amount of danger, both for Marla and those in her immediate circle.

Dead Reign Dead Reign by T.A. Pratt
reviewed by Michael M Jones
In her years as chief sorcerer of Felport, Marla Mason has dealt with any number of magical threats and occult menaces, slapping down unimaginable horrors and upstart magical practitioners on a weekly basis. Whether she's playing cat herder with the prominent sorcerers of the city, or preventing necromancers from creating servants out of the recently deceased, she's got it all under control. Well, mostly.

Dead Reign Spell Games Dead Reign and Spell Games by T.A. Pratt
reviewed by Rich Horton
An insane necromancer has been released from the Blackwing Institute, Felport's asylum for sorcerers -- it seems he has been (mostly) cured of believing he's dead. As he was an ally of Marla's predecessor, she's not too excited about this, especially as he seems bent on returning to his old habits of raising the dead -- in this book in fact reanimating a corpse that may be that of John Wilkes Booth. At the same time Marla is distracted by being forced to help plan the Founders' Ball, a five-yearly event for the ghosts of the original Felport leaders.

Dead Reign Dead Reign by T.A. Pratt
reviewed by Nathan Brazil
The story begins with a cranky old necromancer named Ayers, recently released from the Blackwing Institute for insane sorcerers, going back to his old ways. Ayers is grave robbing, against the orders of Marla Mason. When things don't work out the way that Ayers wants, he uses blackmail against one of Felport's leading sorcerers, to obtain a mummy. No former resident of Egypt, the body is purported to be the remains of Abraham Lincoln's assassin.

Poison Sleep Poison Sleep by T.A. Pratt
reviewed by Nathan Brazil
There's a problem at the Blackwing Institute. This is a kind of Azkaban for grown ups, where psychologically disturbed sorcerers -- some criminal some just ill -- are kept away from society. One of the patients is a woman called Genevieve, who has the ability to reweave reality according to her whim. She is not a criminal, but rather a rape victim, whose trauma has made her unstable, and therefore highly dangerous. Genevieve has been mostly catatonic for 15 years, until a failed attempt to break out one of the real criminals, accidentally caused her to wake.

Poison Sleep Poison Sleep by T.A. Pratt
reviewed by Michael M Jones
Marla Mason is back from San Francisco, and it's time for her to kick some ass and take care of business at home once again. Felport's up to its sewers in magical trouble, and as always, it's Marla's job to make sure things don't get too messy. Not only does she have to keep the city's assorted magic practitioners from killing one another over the usual stupid things like privilege, property, territory and ego, but there's been a breakout at the Blackwing Institute, the combination mental hospital/prison which houses some of the nastiest, scariest, most insane sorcerers to wreak havoc in the area.

Blood Engines Blood Engines by T.A. Pratt
reviewed by Nathan Brazil
Marla Mason comes across as part Zatanna part Elektra, with a dash of American Psycho. Tagging along with Marla is her associate, Rondeau, currently possessing the body of an average human male, which rather nastily, he has held since it belonged to a little homeless boy. The pair turn up in San Francisco looking for something called the Cornerstone, a rare, magic enhancing artefact. The last time Marla heard of the Cornerstone, it was in the care of an old ally, Lao Tsung, but he is dead, apparently murdered, and the only clue to his demise is a poisonous golden frog.

Poison Sleep Poison Sleep by T.A. Pratt
reviewed by Rich Horton
Genevieve Kelley, an apprentice magician who retreated into a coma of sorts after she was raped, has been kept in the Blackwing Institute, a sanatorium for mentally disturbed magicians. Genevieve is a "reweaver" -- she can rearrange reality to match her dreams. But she has escaped, and she is more or less randomly reweaving reality in Felport, transporting people to a world of her dreams every so often. Marla needs to track her down and eliminate her threat to her city, hopefully without killing her.

Blood Engines Blood Engines by T.A. Pratt
reviewed by Rich Horton
Marla Mason is the sorcerer who runs the Rust Belt town of Felport. But her rival, Susan Wellstone, plans an intricate spell to overturn her, and Marla's only hope to foil her plans is to find a magical object called a Cornerstone. The only one of which she is aware is in San Francisco, guarded by her old friend Lao Tsung. So she and her sidekick, a not quite human young man called Rondeau, rush across the country -- only to learn that Lao Tsung has been killed, by a horde of South American poison frogs.

Blood Engines Blood Engines by T.A. Pratt
reviewed by Michael M Jones
When Marla Mason, sorcerer overlord/guardian of the East Coast city of Felport, travels to San Francisco in search of a magical artifact, she expects it to be a quick trip. Get in, get what she needs, get out with a minimum of threats, intimidation, violence, and/or magical persuasion. She certainly doesn't expect to get involved in some major trouble involving San Francisco's local sorcerers and a mysterious threat picking them off one by one.

Pravic: A New Grammar for Science Fiction, Issue 1, Fall 2012 Pravic: A New Grammar for Science Fiction, Issue 1, Fall 2012
reviewed by Cyd Athens
At a time when the publishing world is acknowledging that its face is changing, and industry notables such as Donald Maass are encouraging writers to embrace that change and accept the challenge of using high impact techniques to "capture the minds, hearts, and imaginations of" today's readers and markets, Pravic is timely.

Dangerous Games Dangerous Games by Michael Prescott
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
Try to imagine being trapped in the darkness. Alone. Shackled and left to die. Knowing that no one was going to find you until it was too late, if ever. Feel the desperation and despair of waiting there, hidden from the world, completely alone in the cold, dark, damp of the maze that is the Los Angeles storm-drain system. How many of us would go mad long before the torrents of water came to cover us?

In Dark Places In Dark Places by Michael Prescott
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
From the start, Robin Cameron is just throwing herself in the path of a bullet-train of trouble. She's a psychiatrist, actively in search of the most unstable people imaginable. Her clients include Justin Gray, a notorious, sadistic serial killer with an uncanny talent for spotting the weakness in his prey. The radical experiment she is pursuing is intended to cure such sociopaths, but there is no way to verify the results.

Next Victim Next Victim by Michael Prescott
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
Among the many things that terrify us, serial killers and chemical weapons are right at the top of the list. The last thing we need is a meeting of the two, so, naturally, thrill master Michael Prescott decides to throw the lethal combination together. What results is a case that will stretch the resources of the FBI and the strength of one special agent who has pursued the killer for years.

The Shadow Hunter The Shadow Hunter by Michael Prescott
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
Abby Sinclair has just about the most dangerous job you can envision. Contracting her services out to security firms, she takes the inside track to run stalkers to ground. Against one of the most dangerous and unpredictable of all criminals she goes undercover, moving in and befriending the stalker, preparing the profile and risk assessment that is essential to keeping the client/victim alive.

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